It was a close run thing. I think that was said by Wellington after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. The Frances Fitzgerald storm has passed but it was also a close run thing. I had a headline in my head for this blog topic at the week-end. It was ‘Outrageous’. Outrageous in the sense that causing an election at this time would be so. We are apparently on the brink of a decisions which will impact on future generations in this country. This may take place at a meeting regarding Brexit in a couple of weeks.
Frances Fitzgerald was holding firm on her mantra and holding the country to ransom. ‘I did nothing wrong’ with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar endorsing that while Michael Martin was looking for a victim. I readily accept that I am not an expert and what I say can only be an opinion of what I assess from the evidence. This is presented from evaluating the media commentary and sentiment that comes my way. In all things that is all I can do or be.
Had there been an election the sentiment that would have prevailed would have been a plague on all your political houses. I am a collector of phrases with messages. While the election was averted, just about, and the former minister may get credit for her stepping down especially in her Dublin constituency the phrase that comes to me ‘something given at first asking is twice given’. The then Tánaiste went to the wire and a lot of damage was done. Perhaps the phrase that ‘a week is a long time in politics’ and that this storm will be forgotten soon obtains but the incident highlighted the political instinct to survive whatever the cost.
Nobody wanted an election was the cry yet it nearly happened and the feather of a late email tipped the balance. Simon Coveney was still batting for his colleague late on Monday night saying that everyone should wait until a tribunal beginning in six weeks and reporting God knows when would clear it all up. Fintan O’Toole suggested that the electorate would be apoplectic and you cannot get more upset than that.
I wondered how I might vote in a possible election and the options were not at all inviting. So an election before Christmas would be a like very upset child tipping his jig saw in the air and see how it settled when gravity prevailed.
Now that storm is over and we are safe and well, for now. The next spat will see confidence and supply in short supply.
The Bord Gáis Energy, Irish Book Awards on RTE.
I tuned into the Irish Book Awards presented by Keelin Shanley and Evelyn O’Rourke on RTE last night, Wednesday. I have always loved books and will be in Heaven (hopefully….I have John Joe on speed dial!) a good few years before I have all the books I have collected read. I do not read enough now. I used to. Even when I was say fifteen or sixteen I used to read quite a lot. The fact that the county library was located across the road from the CBS in Roscommon was a great help. My topic then was World War 2! In recent times I have gravitated towards sports books. I think Camus wrote that all he learned about life he learned from sport. Some of the greatest sports books come from the U.S. dealing with sport there especially Baseball. It is a game I got the bug for when in New York in the summer of ’69, The Year the Mets lost place and won The World Series defeating Baltimore. The Amazing Mets. Others I have read The Summer of ’49 which was the battle between The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox and ‘The Boys of Summer’ relating to the Brooklyn Dodgers and the emergence of the first black star of the game Jackie Robinson. I am going to arrange to get a tv channel which broadcasts baseball next year to see if the appetite is still there.
There are other great sports books such as those by tennis player Andre Agassi and Manchester Utd. player Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Gaelic games has quite a number including my favourite ‘Fairytale in New York’ relating to Cavan's great adventure and win in the All-Ireland of ’47 in New York’s Polo Grounds. Another was ‘The Club’ by Christy O’Connor, a raw telling of a Clare hurling club over the course of a year.
In last night’s awards the Nominated Sports Book of the Year Were;
The Choice, Philly McMahon with Niall Kelly (Gill Books)
The Ascent: Séan Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, Barry Ryan (Gill Books)
Shay: Any Given Saturday, The Autobiography- Shay Given (Trinity Mirror Sport Media )
The Warrior’s Code: My Autobiography, Jackie Tyrell with Christy O’ Connor (Trinity Mirror Sport Media)
Gooch: The Autobiography, Colm Cooper with Vincent Hogan (Transworld Ireland)
Form: My Autobiography, Kieran Fallon with Oliver Holt (Simon & Schuster UK)
The winner was ‘The Choice’ by Dublin footballer Philly McMahon with Niall Kelly. The story is not really about football but about the decline of his brother into drug addiction and early death. The book is a great achievement for Philly from Ballymun and is a validation of when a person makes the right and wrong choices how their lives diverge.
The winner in The Novel of the Year Award went to ‘Midwinter Break’, Bernard MacLaverty (Johnathan Cape)
Eavan Boland, one of Ireland’s greatest poets, was honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award. There were a number of testimonials to her standing internationally as a poet.
Miss Boland will be familiar to many people since she has been on the English Leaving Certificate syllabus for a number of years. I remember part of the poem titled ‘Love’, actually.
“And yet I want to return to you
on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were,
with snow on the shoulders of your coat
and a car passing with its headlights on:
Will we ever live so intensely again?”
Blues Sisters No Longer Blue.
Maybe I could do a stint as a television reviewer as I seem to be going through a period of watching a good deal of it. On Monday night I tuned into a programme titled ‘Blues Sisters’. It followed the fortunes of the Dublin Ladies Senior Football team in their 2017 campaign. It was a very good year for such a documentary as the team, which had been defeated in the last three All-Ireland Finals by Cork, often dramatically, finally came good in a final against………Mayo.
The programme highlighted the intensive preparation of the squad and the supports provided to that team. Once again a steep hill featured in the core stamina input. There was a hill in the Clare hurlers preparation for their great win in ’95. (I used to use the embankment to the top field at times in St. Mary’s College!).
Anyway Dublin easily got over a number of early hurdles in Leinster and then met Kerry in the Semi-Final before eventually overcoming Mayo. Their score flattered with a number of late goals but having been beaten for the last three years the joy was unconfined before a record crowd. The trick now is to win an All-Ireland by defeating the kingpins Cork in a final. Jimmy Murray saw the win over Kerry in ’44 as cementing the label of a great team on the then Roscommon team. A 2018 final between Dublin and Cork would be one I might go to myself.
Boyle Celtic Hitting Fences
Boyle Celtic would probably have had higher expectations from themselves on their return to the Roscommon League in August. There was a slightly careless approach to the first game which they lost to Castlerea Celtic. The loss in The FAI Junior Cup to Moore Utd., which they had done so well in last year, was a big disappointment. Last Saturday, though playing well, they went down to a single goal by League leaders St. Peter’s at Lecarrow, between Knockcroghery and Kiltoom. It is the Roscommon League’s headquarters pitch. Boyle’s pitch was unplayable due to the persistent rain of the day and eventually Boyle had to travel to Lecarrow over 35 miles away. The late call and rush would not have helped. Celtic have a good panel this year but can ill afford further slip ups if they are to be contenders at the end of the season. As Oscar Wilde said; “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”. But to lose three is…
Celtic play Shiven Rovers in Boyle at 2 pm. on Sunday next in the league.
The Irish at Home and Abroad
Boyle continues to get positive publicity regularly. I tuned into a nice soft magazine type programme recently called ‘The Irish at Home and Abroad’ which Anne Smith was responsible for bringing to Boyle.
Then there were the very positive comments of the actor Brendan Gleeson in The Examiner newspaper highlighting a film of his. Brendan came to Boyle first in the mid-seventies and due to the reception and kindness afforded to him then he has become a regular visitor to the area since. He reflected on his positive initiation to the area then and the lifelong friends he made and makes the area special for him.
Of course Chris O’Dowd is a beacon for Boyle recognition regularly especially with Moone Boy. More under the radar is the profile of Paul Young with his Cartoon Saloon based in Kilkenny having two Oscar nominated animation films ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea’.
Being on T.V. or radio now is not the wonder it once was of course. There was a time when being on T.V. was a major kudo for a person or area and the viewing of same was something special. A really significant programme from the mid-seventies was that which featured Micheal O’Callaghan called ‘My Own Place’. Segments of this turn up on YouTube and such. The visit of Maureen O’Sullivan in 1988 was well highlighted on RTE main news.
A Rare Type of Scam
On Sunday the 19th I attended the Kilglass Gaels pitch where the Boyle U 14 team put in a fine performance, especially in the first half, to overcome Roscommon Gaels in the Roscommon Feile qualifying final. The tournament takes place in Louth next year. On the way home I stopped to deliver a book to a friend who was waiting for me outside his house at Rooskey by arrangement. As I approached he was talking to a person whose car was parked on the opposite side of the road and looked puzzled when I approached him. His puzzlement arose from the person he had been talking to who was looking for some money. Her story was that she was on her way to a Dublin Hospital from Donegal and had left her purse and card at home inadvertently. She wanted to ‘borrow’ some money to continue her journey! She was pulling away by the time I was with them so she missed out!
Christmas GAA Quiz
The Annual Christmas GAA Quiz will take place on Wednesday December 27th in St. Joseph’s Hall from 8 to 10. 25. This has become an established event in the Christmas Calendar and hopefully it will be as successful as it has traditionally been. There was some discussion regarding the appropriate night but there is no perfect time and it was on Wednesday last year so the committee stayed with it.
Boyle Senior GAA AGM
Takes place on Sunday next December the 3rd at 4 o’clock.
Who is the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration?
Answer; David Stanton.
Sorry David never heard of you.
He was in Roscommon recently. What’s with the ‘Integration’ segment of that portfolio?
Congratulations to Patsy Hanley.
On his ‘Lifetime Achievement/Gradam Saoil’ which will be presented in Cork’s Opera House in February 2018. Patsy, another regular visitor to Boyle, is the godfather now of traditional music in county Roscommon.
Coalition of Sinn Fein and Green Party
Some smart aleck came up with a possible title for a possible coalition of Sinn Fein and The Green Party as……Guns & Roses.